A letter written by outlaws Bonnie and Clyde to a former member of their gang could bring up to $60,000 in an online auction next month.
Dated April 1934, the letter – handwritten by Bonnie Parker, and signed by Clyde Barrow – accused Raymond Hamilton of cowardice and stealing from the gang.
Hamilton was an ex-Barrow Gang member who had originally joined the gang in the early 1930s.
He was imprisoned at the Eastham Prison Farm after taking the fall for a jewelry store murder, but Barrow rescued Hamilton, along with freeing four other convicts, in a daring machine gun raid on the prison farm in January 1934.
However, it wasn’t long before the two men fell out. Having robbed the R. P. Henry & Sons Bank, in Lancaster, Texas, the pair argued about how to split the loot. Hamilton was also accused of cowardice during an encounter with a police blockade in Missouri, and criticised for his relationship with his "prostitute sweetheart" companion Mary O’Dare.
Hamilton split with the gang, and soon found himself locked up again, and received this letter whilst incarcerated at the Dallas County Jail.
The remarkable letter reads in part:
“I’m very sorry to hear of your getting captured, but due to the fact that you offered no resistance sympathy is lacking. The most I can do is hope you miss the ‘chair.’…
"The purpose of this letter is to remind you of all the ‘dirty deals’ you have pulled… You exposed your ‘hole card’ when you stole the money from us on the Lancaster ‘job.’ That’s what I have my rear vision mirror for to watch suspicious people.
"I should have killed you then I would have saved myself much bother and money looking for you… You couldn’t stand the rift of the outlaw life… You only carried your guns around to ‘show off’ or else kidnap women and children.
"You weren’t intelligent enough to know that you couldn’t live like a king and stay out. I don’t claim to be too smart. I know that some day they will get me but it won’t be without resistance."
This particular line proved to be prophetic, as Bonnie and Clyde were gunned down in a shootout with Frank Hamer’s posse less than a month after the letter was written.
“Clyde Barrow wanted Raymond Hamilton dead and they wanted him to know it. Brimming with remarkable content— this is a one-of-a-kind letter from the famed outlaw couple,” said Robert Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.
The letter is valued at $40,00 – $60,000, and will be offered as part of the RR Auction Remarkable Rarities sale which takes place from September 15-26.